248. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Turkey1

122819. NATUS. State 118498.2

Your talk with GOG Amb Delivanis (Ankara 3420)3 as well as Amb. Talbot’s conversation with new GOG PriMin (Athens 3439)4 has demonstrated GOG determination to resume dialogue and, if possible, reach agreement on Cyprus problem. We are impressed by persistence and sincerity with which GOG appears to be pursuing this objective, and consider GOG recognition that recent bellicose statements in GOT Parliament are designed for domestic consumption as further evidence their sincerity.
As we perceive current situation, existence of Paraskevopoulos Government offers opportunity for move forward on Cyprus issue. Main obstacle on Greek side would be potential opposition of George Papandreou and his CU party to any settlement which could be regarded as sacrificing Greek interests (and since any conceivable settlement will involve Greek concessions, such “sacrifices” will not be hard to identify). However, since Papandreou has reasonable expectation of returning to power in May elections, he is well aware of potentially destructive impact of Cyprus issue on his popularity and existence his government and thus has every reason to wish it out of way before he assumes office. As CU leader has said to Amb. Talbot in past, Cyprus crisis was his greatest worry during his 16 months in office, and preoccupation with this question prevented him from carrying out his domestic policy which was closest to his heart. If Paraskevopoulos Govt. were able to reach Cyprus settlement on terms representing something less than complete success for Greek side, Papandreou could presumably acquiesce, since he would not bear main responsibility for lack of total victory and would be freed of this potential burden when and if he took office. Further he would probably not begrudge current government credit for positive aspects of Cyprus settlement, since Paraskevopoulos and his ministers are “non-political” personalities and hence not his political rivals.
We recognize there is no way of preventing certain elements on Greek political scene, notably Andreas Papandreou forces and crypto-Communist EDA party, from attacking efforts to achieve Cyprus settlement on any realistic terms. Younger Papandreou has shown his willingness in past to take irresponsible line on this national issue when he considered it politically profitable. Nevertheless, we think that on balance it is possible that sufficient support from among party leaders—necessarily including G. Papandreou—could be mustered to approve a Cyprus settlement which would then be ratified by Crown Council. Powerful plus factor is determination of King Constantine to settle Cyprus problem as quickly as possible, and we would count on King to exert pressure on political leaders to this end.
In light of this assessment you should seek early opportunity to discuss with Caglayangil our analysis Greek situation, and our belief that Greeks mean business on resuming dialogue and working towards final settlement. While GOT skepticism about current GOG ability to reach and implement real agreement is understandable in view of past disappointments with various Greek governments, this should not deter GOT from seizing what appears to be opportunity to make significant progress on explosive Cyprus question. At very least it would halt deterioration in Greek-Turkish relations which has taken place since importation of Czech arms into island and fall of Stephanopoulos Government, and reestablish hot line between Athens and Ankara which would be most helpful in event of further crisis.5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP. Secret. Drafted by Owens, cleared in NEA, and approved by Handley. Repeated to Athens, Nicosia, London, and Paris.
  2. Telegram 118498 to Ankara, January 13, reported that Kohler reiterated to the Turkish Ambassador the U.S. belief that the Greek-Turkish dialogue held out the best hope for a Cyprus settlement and urged the Turks to press forward with discussions. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 3420 from Ankara, January 19, reported talks between Hart and Ambassador Delivanis on the Greek position in the Cyprus talks. (Ibid.)
  4. Document 247.
  5. In telegram 3476 from Ankara, Hart reported that he had transmitted the substance of the Department’s instructions to Caglayangil. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 27 CYP)